Firework Review Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Firework Review Group.

Strategic Context

The ‘Fireworks Action Plan: Promoting the Safe and Appropriate Use of Fireworks in Scotland’ committed to establishing a Firework Review Group to provide recommendations to Scottish Ministers on tightening devolved legislation on fireworks in Scotland. 

The Group will consider the feasibility of available options within current devolved legislation, and present recommendations for change.  Legislation on where and when fireworks can be used is devolved to Scottish Ministers; and there are some options available on the sale of fireworks.  The Group will fully consider all of these options with the aim of making a series of evidence-based recommendations to Scottish Ministers in October 2020 to ensure fireworks are used safely and handled with care, and do not cause harm, distress or serious injury. 

The work of the Group will progress in parallel with on-going discussions with the UK Government regarding the legislation governing the sale of fireworks in Scotland.


The purpose of the Firework Review Group is to present recommendations and advice to Scottish Ministers, both by request and proactively, on appropriate moves to tighten the devolved legislation on fireworks in Scotland. 


To achieve this purpose, the remit of the Group is to:

  • Use evidence from a number of sources, and draw on the knowledge and experiences of group members, to provide evidence-based recommendations to Scottish Ministers.
  • Consider, and where appropriate draw on, international legislation and regulation to identify examples of practice that may be appropriate to apply in Scotland. 
  • Specifically advise on options identified including, but not limited to the introduction of:
    • Restrictions on the use of fireworks on private property.
    • Tighter dates and times when fireworks can be set off.
    • A notification system before fireworks can be used.
    • ‘No firework’ areas or zones.
    • Restrictions on the times fireworks can be sold.
    • Mandatory conditions at point of sale.
  • Recommend a timetable to implement change, and any further steps or considerations to be explored. 

It is expected that the Group will develop a workplan to guide the development of advice and recommendations.  Work undertaken may make use of Scottish Government analysis in the first instance, and take a view on the extent to which any additional analysis is required. 


The Group will operate for a period extended to 11 months, starting in December 2019.  The Group will meet up to 8 times during this period, and it is anticipated work will be progressed outwith formal meetings of the group.  Any matters which need to be decided on outwith the schedule of meetings may be dealt with by correspondence. 

The amended schedule of meetings is as follows:

  1. Thursday 5 December 2019, 10:30 to 12:30. 
  2. Thursday 16 January 2020, 10.00 to 14:00
  3. Thursday 5 March 2020, 130 to 16.00. 
  4. Thursday 13th August, 10:00 to 13:00
  5. Thursday 27th August, 10:00 to 13:00
  6. Thursday 17th September, 10:00 to 13:00
  7. Thursday 8th October, 10:00 to 13:00
  8. Thursday 29th October, 10:00 to 13:00


The Chair will be remunerated for his time, in accordance with the Scottish Government Public Sector Pay Policy.  Travel and subsistence will be paid at normal Scottish Government rates where necessary.

Participation in the Group will not be remunerated.  Any expenses such as travel and subsistence will be paid at normal Scottish Government rates, unless this is already covered by attendees regular working arrangements.

Accountability, Governance and Support

The Group is independent, and advice will be provided directly to Ministers.  The Terms of Reference, a high level workplan, a final report and minutes of meetings will be published.  The Group retains an option to make other documentation and resources public where appropriate.

The Group is not established on a statutory basis.  It is therefore not subject to the formal public appointments process and the requirements of the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland.  Members are appointed by Scottish Ministers, taking into account the views of the Chair.

Secretariat to the Chair and to support the running of the Review Group will be provided by the Scottish Government.

Meetings will be attended by named members only.  Substitutes will usually not be accepted, apart from by prior agreement with the Chair.  Membership will be drawn from key organisations with a direct interest including representation from:

  • British Fireworks Association
  • British Pyrotechnics Association
  • British Veterinary Association
  • Community Representative Blackburn
  • Community Representative Edinburgh
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde / Care of Burns in Scotland (COBIS)
  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Scottish Community Safety Network
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators
  • Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Trading Standards
  • Veterans Scotland.

Decision making will be as far as possible by consensus, or by majority if consensus is not reached, with the Chair having a casting vote if necessary.  Attendance of 10 (out of the current 15) members will be considered quorate.

Members will agree to abide by the following Group norms:

  • Attend the majority of meetings.
  • Observe good time keeping.
  • Take individual responsibility for engaging and completing tasks delegated to them.
  • Switch off phones and electronic devices during meetings, apart from those being used for note taking etc.
  • Meetings will take place in different locations across Scotland, including within communities  Although the Group is independent, suitable Scottish Government accommodation may be used if other accommodation is not available.

Reporting and Outputs

The Group is an independent and time-limited group.  It has no executive functions. It will report, through the Chair, to Scottish Ministers.  Key outputs of the group include:

  • A workplan to guide the work of the group to develop its advice and recommendations
  • Minutes as a record of each meeting of the Group
  • A final report to Scottish Ministers providing recommendations and advice on devolved legislation on fireworks in Scotland

All members of the Group and those asked to participate in work involving the Group will be asked to declare any conflicts of interest.  Any action to be taken on the basis of these declarations will be at the discretion of the Chair.  If it is the Chair who has a conflict of interest, the Chair will ask another member of the Group to lead in determining the appropriate course of action.

Communications and Information Sharing

The Group will not be subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) and will not be required to respond to FOI requests. This is because the Group is not established on a statutory basis, and because it is clearly reflected within the Group's remit and appointment letters that they are independent.

Any papers provided from the Group to Scottish Government Ministers or officials will become subject to the usual FOI requirements.   This means that any e-mails, notes, initial or formative advice and communications to Scottish Government Ministers or officials, would immediately become Scottish Government documents for the purposes of FOI.  The Scottish Government can apply exemptions to withhold certain information, for example if policy is still being formulated, but may not be applicable for other types of information.  Documents withheld for policy development reasons are likely to become appropriate for release in the future, once policy in this area is fully formed.

The Scottish Government Secretariat will keep the Group's records in a separate electronic file with restricted access.  This will clarify that, for the purposes of FOI, the Scottish Government is holding these records only on behalf of the group and not in its own right.

Information and papers sent to Group members are intended for viewing by those members only.  There should be an assumption that papers will contain Official Sensitive level information and thus should not be shared with colleagues or third parties, either in hard copy or electronically, and their content should not be discussed outwith the Group or any of its agreed workstreams.  Protocols will be developed for the distribution of information and papers.

Group discussions are confidential and not for sharing with third parties.

Back to top